Here is a brief testimony from a participant in a training event that we did.
By Rachel Meyer
I am helping my daughter and her husband potty-train their little girl. It is probably enough just to say that Kinsley is a two-year-old, but she is so much more! Kinsley is strong-willed and opinionated; she is adventurous and bold. She is bright, and beautiful, and all things good in the world. Can you tell that I love being her gramma?
And love her I do, but here’s the thing: I’m kind of an old hand at this. Not to mention, I raised her mother. I have an edge in this situation. I learned long ago, that no matter what the situation is, it pays to have an edge. I understand now, what I did not realize with her mom. That hundred-watt smile? She already knows how to work it! Those tears that break our heart? They have nothing at all to do with penance! Even at two years old and just pushing three, she is truly becoming “wise as a serpent,” but I am not so sure she has the “harmless as a dove” part down yet. This child just wants control!
The other day, as we were ritualistically conducting the Battle of the Bathroom, I said, “Dear God, this child is more stubborn than I am!” I think God laughed. Seriously. I think He laughed right out loud! Then I heard that little voice I have come to recognize so well. “You can be successful or you can be right.” I think He said it with a touch of humor. I was about to spout off and say I was glad we could add some amusement to His day, when I “got it.” I was either arguing, or trying to reason, with a TWO YEAR OLD! I began to get the visual of what this must look like to The King of the universe! This time, I laughed! I also changed my tactics.
Now we have fun with it. I’m more patient, more kind. She gets to make choices. I get to relax the reins a little. She still has to wash her hands, but she can choose a lotion to use after. If she has an accident, no harm, no foul. I’m just as disappointed as she is, but it’s all good because in ten minutes we get to try again. We still have discipline, but I believe in her. I try to be quick to laugh, quick to applaud. I try to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. I try to be like my Father, because I know what He is like with me.
That’s where I am really going with this. God’s Word is so much more than words. It’s a blueprint for every single situation, every personality, every success, and every failure. God is not a control freak. He’s a Father Who wants the best for His kids. He gives us all the tools we need for success, and then He gives us room to explore them. I remember times I have not chosen wisely myself. Continue reading
By Donna Astern
Dreaming more lately? Do you wake up puzzled by a dream and wonder if it means anything? Or do you tend to discount it as nothing more than “last night’s pizza”?
The Bible says that dreaming will increase as a part of the “Spirit being poured out upon all mankind”… “your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17) There are several reasons for dreams, but, oftentimes the source of many of these dreams is spiritual. If you had such a dream, are you curious about why you had it and what it means?
(Proverbs 25:2 NAS) “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
God, who loves puzzles and mysteries, provided you with an opportunity to search out the meaning and comprehend the message of the dream. Likewise, Jesus taught deep spiritual truth using parables, stories about everyday life which the audience could visualize in their minds. Even so, many of his listeners did not understand the true meaning.
If “a picture is worth 1,000 words”, then when you have a spiritual dream, you get an illustrated version of a concept or idea or truth that leaves an impression.
Not all dreams are from God, however even dreams from the human spirit can provide valuable insight into your own heart and mind.
Just as with parables, there are often everyday elements in a dream that speak to a particular topic… Continue reading
Asking for Prayer
You decide to ask for prayer and type out your request, hoping for a favorable outcome. You have needs and desires for which the intervention of the Spirit of God will make all the difference. Sending in a request is an act of faith, and perhaps, also of desperation.
Yet, sending in the request is not all that is needed. Continue reading
By Rachel Meyer
It occurs to me, this morning, that most of our enemies are invisible. I mean, we see the results, occasionally even the symptoms, but rarely does our real enemy come out into the open. I ponder this while watching a group of young people dance in the park to the tunes of a street musician. The musician, himself, appears tattered, but in a tailored sort of way. He has that rebel aura that we are often drawn to, and a good eye for the crowd. He adjusts his tone accordingly. I only recognize this because I am a people-watcher too, howbeit for different reasons. It isn’t the musician I am attracted to right now. I try to blend in, as I watch the dancers.
I try to pick up on the spiritual atmosphere that surrounds them. I listen. I pray. I watch.
I’m refreshed to hear their laughter, to see how totally in sync they seem to be. There’s an elderly couple sitting on a park bench nearby. The lady smiles, as her husband taps his foot. I watch. You see, I’m keeping a vigil of sorts. I used to come here to pray for our city, to pray for our nation, to pray over events we had planned, and some we had not planned for at all. That’s what I used to do. I pray differently now. I listen closer. I try to be a little more on purpose about discerning the spirit of a thing. Continue reading
Certainly all human beings make mistakes, including people standing in the five-fold offices mentioned in the New Testament: apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist, and teacher (Eph. 4:11). It seems more common to suspect prophets of being false than the others, when in truth, false teachers have done more damage to the Church.
Making a mistake does not mean one is a false prophet or teacher or pastor. It means he is human. Continue reading
This is an excerpt from a training workshop.
The Prayer Team frequently receives requests expressing a desire to be married, or to be re-united with a former love, or for a spouse or loved one to change in his or her behavior towards him or her. Many people struggle with these unfulfilled desires.
Here is my pastoral response for your consideration which I hope will be found beneficial. Continue reading
For quite some time, it seemed as though 11, 111, and 1111 were showing up everywhere. I would wake up at night, glance at the clock and it was 1:11. I would drive down the highway, glance over at the mile marker and it was 111. I would look at the top of the book I was reading and it was page 111. It got to where almost every time I looked at the clock there was 11, either 11:00 or 11:11 or 2:11 or 9:11, et cetera. I also saw elevens on building and license plates and cash register receipts. I recently received a prophetic word by email sent at 1:11 and another strategic one yesterday at 1:11.
I haven’t been looking for elevens. This is just a phenomenon I have noticed with seasons of increasingly regularity for a few years.
Maybe you have noticing how frequently you see elevens and have been curious too. Continue reading
In looking over the various prayer requests that come in, I wanted to share some thoughts on identification and intercession.
Gal 6:2 says to “bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”. Fulfilling the law of Christ is to continue in caring for one another as He taught and demonstrated.
Son of Man and Friend of Sinners
Did you notice: Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man, not the Son of God? He identified with humanity — he lived as a man anointed and led by the Spirit of God. He felt the pain, weakness, and suffering of people and was moved with compassion to pray for them, work miracles, and show kindness and acceptance and forgiveness. He referred to people as sheep in need of a caring shepherd. Continue reading
“If you aren’t worried, it’s because you aren’t paying attention!”, the cartoon said.
Certainly there has been enough bad news and warnings of all kinds of disasters that many people are fearful. And unfortunately, in many cases, some Christians are almost gleeful of tales of impending doom. Just like Jonah who was. He didn’t like the Ninevites and was all too happy to see them destroyed, and he didn’t want his prophetic proclamations to fail.
But I keep returning to what Jesus said. These words keep echoing over and over in my heart: Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, I was out for an evening walk and began to ponder the topic of reinvention.
From time to time, we hear of a well-known performer, often a singer, who is said to have “reinvented” him- or herself. Upon a closer look, we see that the whereas the singer may have changed hair color and style, costume, or even the genre of music (now country as opposed to rock, for example), there has been no fundamental change in who or what he or she does– still singing, but just in a new package.
Businesses and celebrities repackage often as a way to update their image or appeal to a new crowd, but when it comes down to it, it’s the same content with a nice new package.
On the other hand, some people have genuinely reinvented themselves. Continue reading
A surprising number of believers have found themselves in a place of tremendous wounding, grief, and loss, even struggling with thoughts of suicide. Faith has been shaken and the light at the end of the tunnel has all but extinguished.
That wounding has been deepened through the abandonment or insensitivity of the usual support system. Rather than finding the compassionate Good Samaritan (Luke 10:33) who is proactive in healing and support, many find only “Job’s comforters” (Job 16:2) admonishing the bleeding and broken to just get over it and get back to living. There is a time to grieve and while none of us needs to prolong that state, the severity of some blows takes longer for recovery, even hospitalization.
Many years ago when I worked at a restaurant, a certain server was noted as being a particularly good worker and showed potential for taking on more responsibility. So she was promoted to a supervisory position instead of waiting tables. Unfortunately, her initial response to the new position was to lose her friendly smile. She began to throw her weight around, waste time, clown around, and stopped engaging the customers. Shortly afterwards, she was fired.
A newly promoted employee can also be the target of envious coworkers who challenge his authority or seek to manipulate him or to get by with slothful work. All of a sudden, he is no longer just “one of the guys” even though he may not be behaving badly. His new responsibility brings a different perspective not necessarily shared or appreciated by his coworkers. Continue reading
By David Alsobrook
A fuzzy caterpillar was crawling on a tree limb munching on green leaves. He noticed birds flying in the air and something intuitively said to him: One day you will fly! He knows this came from The Creator and believes it in his caterpillar heart, but his caterpillar mind gets it tangled up somehow. He envisions himself as a Flying Caterpillar!
He begins to get sleepy and notices ooze coming from his body. Next thing he knows is he is in a dark place, a warm cocoon. And then disaster strikes: his body begins dissolving in that dark, wet place. “Oh no!” the fuzzy caterpillar cries, “I am losing my fuzziness, my greenness, my caterpillar-ness! This is horrible! Why is The Creator causing this to happen to me? He promised me wings, but instead I’m A MESS!” Continue reading
By Swanson Soyars
“Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciple, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.”(John 6:10-13)
Jesus emphasized “Let nothing be wasted, pick up and gather the broken pieces”, (broken promises and dreams of God over your life and the lives of others). The twelve baskets represent both the twelve tribes of Israel and the governmental authority of His kingdom.
Jesus did not pick up the pieces that were left over and or broken, He directed his disciples to pick them up, and place them in the government of His authority.
At the end of the day the front door opens, and the little boy runs to the door, announcing “Daddy’s home!” It is a joyful reunion as he relishes Daddy’s enthusiastic embrace and affection, eager to hug and to tell his dad all about his day. He knows he is welcome in Daddy’s arms.
Consider the difference with an orphan who may have had years of painful memories that taught him that fathers will not always be there to welcome and embrace. Even when adopted into a loving home, it may be quite some time before he gets used to the fact that he is a real member of the family and that Daddy will actually be there for him. He may be filled with dread when he disobeys or disappoints, that desertion is sure to follow. Continue reading
True spiritual evolution starts with a divine dissatisfaction with our current status. Recognition of our need for the Savior initially led us to becoming born again.
From that point on, we grew and made spiritual progress. Yet, when our journey led us to a wall, we grew increasingly appalled at the disparity between the promises of the Word and what was our current experience. The abundant life Jesus promised was only partially understood or incorporated into everyday life. We knew deep down we were falling short of the promise. Continue reading
In Frank Baum’s famous story, The Wizard of Oz, is a lion whose behavior is far removed from his rank as “King of the Jungle”. He is a pathetic, sniveling coward afraid to lead and to confront the threats that surround him and his traveling companions. Near the end of the story, he finally rises to the challenge and demonstrates courage for the very first time, which brings a positive transformation to his personality and respect from the others.
Too often in the Body of Christ, we have leaders with a position of authority who are afraid to address the very real problems in the lives of those they oversee. Too often, the leader shies away with a promise to pray over the troublesome situation, while apparently waiting for it to go away or for someone else to deal with it.
Lying awake in bed late at night and tossing and turning, the tormenting thoughts and disturbing emotions were relentless, forbidding rest, much less sleep. All attempts at relief, all the usual remedies, were not working. The grief and nagging hurt continued as the minutes slowly passed into hours. Nothing seemed to soothe the fretful brow, to restore peace.
Although knowing that internal peace is the inheritance of believers, that peace was taking a severe beating. The fight for peace to remain was fierce, and the promise was unchanged. Continue reading
Driving early one morning through the Georgia foothills, it was evident this would not be a sight-seeing trip. The heavy fog enveloped us so that only the immediate road and signage was visible.
Watching for the correct numbered exit was the primary focus, even as the lack of scenic surroundings and need to drive more slowly made the distance between exits seem longer than usual.
Without opportunity to see and appreciate the green hills and waterways, we concentrated on the highway and the traffic. Eventually as the morning wore on, the fog began to dissipate and our visibility increased. Continue reading
Healthy friendships are loving, supportive, respectful, and honest. We enjoy spending time with each other. Oftentimes, when we are discouraged, it is a friend who comes along and makes us laugh or gives us reassurance and hope.
A true friend will not sabotage your dreams or be happy about your struggles. Healthy people do not tolerate a friend who continually makes them feel worse with critical remarks and ridicule.
Yet, that very behavior is not only tolerated, but too often accepted, when it comes from our own inner voice. Barbs of criticism are mistakenly identified as “humility”, or even, appallingly, “the conviction of the Lord”. Continue reading
It is so easy to be delighted with a new puppy. He is so cute, soft, cuddly, and eager to please. His tail is wagging and he is so happy to play with his new family.
He is given dishes of fresh water and puppy food, toys, and his own place to lie down.
All is going very well for a while, but the puppy has not yet learned his boundaries, or the rules of the house. Before long, there are piddles on the kitchen floor and carpet, and chewed up shoes strewn about the bedroom. He has developed a pattern of barking at anything and everything at all hours of day and night.
Now the mood in the house has changed. The puppy is not so appealing anymore, and may even, after a time, be considered a nuisance and not worth the trouble.
It was a difficult time of upheaval, change,uncertainty, and loss mixed with abandonment. Then I heard the Lord speak to my heart:
“Lean into this season.”
At the time, I was resisting the circumstances, suffering from the pain I felt so deeply, questioning and doubting myself.
To me, this meant to accept what was. I was not going to get all the answers I wanted. There were so many things I was powerless to change, yet I wanted things to be different than what they were.
Many other times I have seen the power of prayer and faith-filled words bring a turn-around to negative situations. However, this time it was not so much resisting evil, as it was resisting change.
In life, everything we are skilled at has come through trial and error and many times of practice. We learned from our mistakes, perhaps, asked for help from another person, and tried again. After a period of time, we learned how to feed ourselves, or read, or ride a bicycle, or give a talk, or play an instrument, or any number of skills. Even when born with a gift for singing or athletics, that gift could be honed into a greater effectiveness than just raw talent alone.
We did something with the basic material we had been given.
However, a strange mindset often is present regarding the ministry of spiritual gifts. Somehow, even though, we expect the pastor to have studied and prepared how to deliver a sermon on Sunday morning, and we expect the choir and musicians to have spent time preparing the music, it is somehow not expected that any study or training is beneficial or even necessary for ministry of the gifts of the Spirit. Continue reading
By Dr. Melodye Hilton
God continues to illuminate our minds concerning the remarkable call upon marketplace saints. The vision goes beyond financial increase or influence to one core purpose – the expansion of the Kingdom of God! The Kingdom is the “rule and reign of Jesus Christ.” Whoever we are, wherever God has called us, we are to submit to His governing rule thus seeing His will established in our spheres of influence.
I experienced a defining moment in my life 12 years ago when I went on a pilgrimage to Edinburgh, Scotland. I visited the castle there and saw the beautiful crown jewels. I was confused when I saw a large ordinary-looking rock sharing an honored place adjacent to the crown jewels. It looked so out of place! As I read the plaques I discovered it was the “Destiny Stone.” Continue reading
By John McDonald
It is sad that today “worship” is seen as a matter of how a “church meeting” is structured, or, defined as to the types of songs sung in a meeting. In fact we call the meeting a “service”, where did that idea come from, maybe to ease the conscience and think that a meeting for 60 minutes or so is serving God, well that doesn’t cut it, for it isn’t. Thinking it is about a style of song, i.e. songs that are slow and or that make you close your eyes in reverence. After all we employ ministers as “Worship Leaders”, and we say, we are now going to have “Praise & Worship”.
All this really means is that worship has been hijacked by the musicians. I love those songs just as much as anyone, but it isn’t what worship is. Continue reading
By Stephen Blackmon
While at a conference in 1999, the Lord blessed me with an idea for a novel. It took me the following ten years “experiencing God” to write it. And the process was incredible. I was blessed with many revelations about our existence here, and about the Lord Himself. A large portion of the novel takes place in Heaven. And the time I spent in prayer learning about that and our misconceptions about real life was extraordinary to say the least.
However, in time, the Lord began to give me a sequel to the book. As I began to hungrily write my notes and etch out this new narrative, my excitement died. Once again He began blessing me with revelation. But this time it showed me a clearer picture of many of Hell’s residents. As I was given vivid visions of this place of torment, I was thrown by the number of references to church. Many of the images I saw showed people having service. It showed thousands upon thousands of religious, judgmental, hypocritical people who had claimed to be believers. Continue reading
By Laura Houck, Bridge Builders Ministry
1) Are you someone who endures through the week until you can attend church on Sunday in order to get into God’s presence?
2) Are you desperate for people to pray for you, and cannot wait until mid-week prayer meeting?
3) Have you been scheming ways to get someone you know to come to a church service so they can get right with God or get saved?
4) Do you seem to have great faith and boldness to pray and believe God for things while at a service, but struggle to pray at all in other places, whether at home or work?
5) Are you in a place that believes only your kind of church is the only way to know the Lord and all others are simply misguided?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it may be possible that you are suffering from TMS! Read the rest here.
By David Alsobrook
“It is possible to enjoy heaven on earth now. There is no need to suffer inwardly no matter what so-called ‘life’ throws at you. Your happiness is not dependent upon the happenings taking place in the surface realm of your existence, but only in the quality of your soul’s submission to the will of God, moment by moment,throughout each day.”
~ David Alsobrook
From You Can Be Free From Yourself!:
The Grace of Transformation
It was transformation. It had happened by God’s work within me, as I sat passively in His Presence. To put it another way, this work of transforming me had been all His work, not mine. The Holy Spirit did the actual transformation within my soul as He applied the benefits procured by the Cross. Should transformation occur within your soul, it will be as profound and unique to you as mine was to me. It is beyond the ability of words to convey the state of peace that is given to you in transformation. It is all grace, all love, all peace, all God.
Transformation was a death – an ending of “me” that was not the true me. This other “me” had been hurting for a half century. Continue reading
God’s intention for our well-being is clearly revealed in the condition of Adam and Eve prior to their sin. They enjoyed a warm friendship with the Lord God as well as with one another. They were in complete harmony and supremely happy and healthy. When they sinned, everything changed. Listen.
Laura Houck addresses the need to purposefully build bridges with others in the Body of Christ, and draws parallels from the natural realm. Listen.
We live in a time in which “I’m so busy!” is a badge of honor. Many have not understood that the Sabbath, the day of rest, is a gift from God, intended to recharge and refresh us. This teaching underscores the validity of taking time for rest, recreation, and fun as part of a balanced lifestyle.
Click to listen.
Praying for our leaders is Scriptural and commendable, but it’s not enough. We can conduct ourselves in such a way as to bring a smile to our leader’s face. Like Aaron and Hur who found a practical way to support both Moses and the Israelite army in time of battle (Ex. 17), there is something each of us can do that will make a real difference.
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
(1 John 3:18)
I know of a particular leader who works very hard to daily communicate with a large membership as best he can. Recently, a member demanded that he personally and immediately respond to her questions, even though he was actually working at his family business. Continue reading
There are two approaches to life– to live as though God is at work, or as though He were not. Some who profess to believe in God worry and strive as though He were not a factor.
Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” This is a constant, abiding, and growing faith that is accompanied by hope, peace, and love.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26)
There are many who will readily agree that this is true: we are sons of God. Yet, in attitude and practice, we often resemble servants or strangers, rather than sons– not too sure if we really belong there at the table with all the rest.
The client sat downcast. “I know I said I wanted to, but I am having trouble sticking to the plan. Here I go again. One more attempt to make a real positive change and then another brick wall!”
At times, a client seems to be his own worst enemy. He started well, but ran out of enthusiasm or confidence along the way. The “why” seems weak in the face of the discouraging results or boredom or painful experiences.
It reminds me of what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:15: For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
When it comes to ice cream, you may have a personal preference of vanilla over chocolate, but, allergies aside, it really will not make a difference which you choose.
However for the important decisions of life– choosing a church home, a career, a partner–there are reasons why one choice is more personally appealing than another. The reason is personal values, those non-negotiables in life where the line is drawn by us. Values provide the reasons why we do what we do. Continue reading
If we do not understand the nature and function of a thing, we will not know how to get the proper use of it. Likewise, in the Church, we may understand the role and function of the pastor, evangelist, and teacher, but not the apostle or prophet. To avoid confusion and false expectations, a better understanding of these offices is needed.
Within the space of a few hours, I received a word of knowledge about an individual and three requests for prayer from different people, all regarding separate and very similar situations. And I wasn’t in a church service!
Each request and the word had a very similar theme, which altogether was startling in the timing. It was as though the day had been labeled as “The Day for This Type of Situation”.
Since I don’t believe in coincidences, it definitely got my attention, and I wondered what else God was going to bring my way. Continue reading